It’s Thanksgiving week. Here by request is a repeat of my cranberry sauce recipe. It’s easy and so much better than canned, so give it a try. Happy Thanksgiving!
The tart cranberry is delicious and healthful. Unfortunately, the cranberry is overlooked except during the holidays yet is good any time of the year. But don’t open up a can of jellied cranberry sauce–make your own! In less than 30 minutes, you can have homemade cranberry sauce. You can store it in the refrigerator in a mold or in the serving bowl–your choice. Molds are impressive but not necessary. Here’s my Hasty Tasty version:
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Process until smooth.
Serve or store in the refrigerator.
Hasty Tasty Cranberry Sauce
- Combine brown sugar and juice of an orange (reserve zest) in a 2-quart sauce pan. Add cranberries.
- Gently heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for fifteen minutes or until berries burst.
- Remove from heat. Stir in zest of orange and grated ginger.
- Carefully tranfer contents to the Vitamix or a food processor. Cover.*
- Beginning with the lowest speed (Vitamix variable speed 1), process cranberries to desired consistency. Just pulse a few times for a chunkier sauce.*
- Carefully pour sauce into a mold or a serving dish, cover, and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour. Overnight is better.
*Processing the sauce is optional. Cranberries taste great either whole sauce or pureed.
Yield: 1 pint cranberry sauce
Variations: add your choice of seasonings in place of the grated ginger, such as cloves, cinnamon, or even jalapeño pepper!
I love steamed vegetables. But if I’m rushed, I pull out the pressure cooker. I cook all the vegetables in one pot, three minutes under pressure (four minutes if you prefer extra tender veggies). Cleanup is easy because the liquid that steams while it cooks prevents sticking or scorching. If your cooker includes a steamer basket and trivet to hold the basket out of the water, use it.
Fresh vegetables prepped in steamer basket
Of course, stick with vegetables having similar cooking times. Don’t toss broccoli in with potatoes. Today I cooked peeled Idaho potatoes, which I later mashed, carrots, and fresh green beans. Yes, you cook them all together. Season with salt and pepper if you like, or season individually when you serve. Your choice.
My 3 Liter pressure cooker
Use your pressure cooker (I have three, but one six-quart cooker is plenty). In the time it takes you to set the table, pour beverages, and re-heat or slice your meat (or protein of your choice), your pressure cooker cooks all your sides. Quick-release according to the manufacturer’s instructions then carefully open the cooker. I pick out my potatoes first because I mash them.
Veggies served with slow cooked chicken.
Don’t let meal preparation raise your blood pressure–just your cooker’s. Enjoy!
This recipe originated as part of my research for the romance novel I’m currently writing, Return to Drake Springs. The hero is on a tight budget but wants to impress the heroine by cooking her dinner. While shopping, I bought only sale items (the lengths we writers go in the name of research!) at my local supermarket, which included bags of fresh, ready-to-eat spinach and boxes of pasta (Both Buy-One-Get-One free), and a discount on fresh baby portabella mushrooms and red bell peppers. The result of my experiment is Mushroom Pasta Florentine.
This recipe is a hearty and delicious meal for meat free Monday or any day. Whole grain pasta bumps up the protein, and the spinach and mushrooms give two servings of vegetables per meal. It’s affordable, too. This has become one of our household’s favorite meals. A writer never knows where research will lead. ☺
Mushroom Pasta Florentine with Whole Wheat Pasta
Hasty Tasty Mushroom Pasta Florentine
- 4 oz. dried thin spaghetti, whole grain or whole wheat
- 1 package fresh spinach leaves, washed and ready to eat
- 8 oz. crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ red bell pepper, diced
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- ½ tsp. grated fresh nutmeg
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (i.e. Rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley)
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large pot, bring 4 – 5 quarts water to a boil. Add salt and pasta. Cook to al dente (follow instructions on the package).
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add spinach.
- Cook spinach until it wilts and leaves room to add mushrooms and red bell pepper.
- Using tongs, toss cooked mushrooms, spinach, and pepper with nutmeg and garlic. Cook another two minutes and remove from heat.
- In a large shallow bowl, pour extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and herbs.
- Drain pasta and immediately add it to the bowl. Use tongs to toss hot pasta with the oil, garlic, and herbs until pasta is coated and fragrant.
- Add the spinach-mushroom mixture. Toss with the pasta.
- Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and serve.
Recipe can be doubled.
We love bison burgers and have eaten them for many years. The meat is leaner than beef, and it has no antibiotics or added hormones. When we stopped by our favorite market today to pick up more bison burgers, we bought elk burgers instead. They were about $2.00 cheaper than bison, and elk is something we had never tried. I expected elk to taste like venison, which I like although it’s rather strong and gamey, but elk tasted mild in comparison. We had the burgers for lunch, with a side of baked beans and a baked sweet potato, and we will buy elk burgers again. Delicious!
- 2 ground elk patties, 1/4 lb. each, thawed.
- 2 whole wheat burger buns + toppings of your choice (I use lettuce, tomato, sweet onion)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper (I use McCormick Pepper Medley)
- Preheat grill or grill pan over medium heat. (I use a Lodge cast iron grill pan.)
- Combine oil, honey, and seasonings and rub mixture over both sides of each burger.
- Cook burgers over medium heat 4 minutes. Turn using a spatula and cook an additional 3 minutes or just until juices run clear. Don’t overcook.
- Serve on whole wheat buns. Add toppings if desired.
Yield: Two burgers
From previous posts you’ve seen that I like making my own food as much as possible to avoid mysterious or harmful additives. I’m a breast cancer survivor who’s especially vigilant about my food. Much as I enjoy yogurt, I don’t enjoy a) paying too much for premium quality or b) consuming nasty additives like carrageenan, which my doctor tells me to avoid. So as with mayonnaise and barbecue sauce, I make my own.
It’s time-consuming to make yogurt, but I’ve come up with a hasty (or as hasty as possible) and tasty version. It has three ingredients only: 1 quart milk (Skim works if you want less fat), 2 Tbsp. honey, and ½ cup plain yogurt with live cultures (always save 1/2 cup of your homemade yogurt as a starter for the next batch). The honey may add calories, but it makes this the best tasting yogurt I’ve had. I eat it plain most of the time, although it’s great with fruit or cereal. Give it a try.
Here’s all you have to do:
- Combine milk and honey in a 2 quart saucepan and whisk to combine.
- Heat gently over medium heat to 120°F.
Heat gently to 120°
- Remove from heat and allow temperature to drop to 115°F.Important: Use a thermometer. Overheating kills the cultures
- Temper the yogurt by mixing it with 1 cup of the heated milk.
- Gently fold yogurt mixture into milk/honey mixture. Pour into a large glass jar or container.
- Wrap container in an electric heating pad and place in a larger pot. Cover.
Set Heating Pad to Medium.
- Plug in heating pad and set to medium (do not allow yogurt temperature to exceed 115°)
- Allow yogurt to ferment for 8 hours.
Ferment 6-8 hours.
- Cool the yogurt overnight in the refrigerator.
- Using yogurt strainers or cheesecloth, strain the whey from the yogurt to thicken it. Allow yogurt to strain in the refrigerator for about two hours.
Strain whey from yogurt.
- Gently spoon thickened yogurt into containers, label, and refrigerate.
- Avoid stirring the yogurt. Fold added fruit, granola, etc. gently into yogurt before serving.
Yield: 2 pints
Note: Use within a month (But mine never lasts that long!).
Cool cake on a rack for 30-60 minutes.
Sometimes I want a dessert, and I don’t want something “diet” or “lite.” I want real flavor. While watching an old episode of Good Eats (Alton Brown) called “Comb Alone,” I wrote down one of his recipes for orange cake that used honey instead of refined sugar. I modified it a bit (Don’t I always?) and liked the results. So with apologies to AB, here is my version of his orange cake. Because he uses honey, it has less sugar and no fat (no sugar creamed butter with this cake recipe). I generously butter my Bundt pan because that’s the only fat added to this recipe. Finally, I use egg substitute to lower the calories from the 4 whole eggs he uses. It didn’t seem to hurt the cake, and it’s a sneaky way to lower the calories and cholesterol a bit more. But feel free to make this using 4 eggs.
This cake recipe qualifies as hasty tasty because combining the equivalent of 4 eggs with honey is faster than creaming sugar with butter then adding the eggs one at a time until each is incorporated. Before this cake finished baking, I had the kitchen cleaned and glaze ready and refrigerated.
HONEY ORANGE CAKE
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together 1 cup raw honey (I used orange blossom), 2 whole eggs and 1/2 cup Egg Beaters®.
Measure out 1½ cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda. Zest one orange (just the orange part. Avoid the white). Set aside.
Using unsalted butter or coconut oil, generously grease a loaf pan or small Bundt pan.
Gradually add the dry mixture to the eggs and honey. Stir in the zest of one orange. Do not overwork the batter.
Pour batter into pan and bake 30 minutes.
Check for doneness. If toothpick doesn’t release clean, bake another 5 minutes and check again.
Cool cake on a rack for at least 30 minutes. An hour is better.
Juice the orange and mix it with 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar to make a glaze. Pour the glaze over the cake when cake is cooled completely.
Yield: 8 servings.
Top cooled cake with optional glaze
CAUTION: Do not try this cake if you dislike the taste of honey. We happen to love it. Next time I plan to bake a lemon version. ☺
Pasta e Fagioli
Not only is pasta e fagioli hasty and tasty, it’s inexpensive and healthful. Also known as pasta fazool, this dish provides plenty of protein and fiber because it contains beans, vegetables, and whole wheat pasta. The tomatoes and Italian seasonings give it great flavor. Try this dish for your next meat-free meal.
PASTA E FAGIOLI
- 1 14 oz. can chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning spice
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 15½ oz. can cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup frozen seasoning blend (Chopped onion, celery, bell pepper, parsley)
- ½ cup whole wheat elbow macaroni
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
- (Optional: ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn, for garnish)
In a 2 quart saucepan, heat the broth over medium heat. Stir in garlic, seasoning blend, Italian spices, tomato sauce and paste. Bring to a low boil.
Add beans, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add macaroni, cover and simmer for 7 additional minutes.
Remove pan from heat, stir, and check macaroni. Should be cooked al dente.
Sprinkle each serving generously with the Parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
Yield: 3 servings
©2011 Cheryl Norman, Recipes for Recovery